NHS ‘Bullying and blame culture’ hurts staff and patients


Birmingham residents were shocked to read the scandalous revelations from the Care Quality Commission that a culture of bullying at the Queen Elizabeth hospital may have led to the avoidable deaths of 17 people.

The Guardian reports

staff told the regulator about “a bullying and blame culture in theatre and critical care” which made them afraid to raise concerns and report safety incidents.”

Sadly this may not be an isolated case. Below is a statement from Betrayed by their Trust (BBTT) who have been campaigning against the bullying and abuse of NHS staff at NHS hospitals in Worcestershire:

We regret to say that the news of a culture of bullying at Queen Elizabeth hospital associated with unnecessary cardiac deaths is no surprise to us. In our first year of activity it has become clear that a climate of fear prevents staff from speaking openly about overstretched services.

Both Worcestershire NHS Trusts, the Acute Hospitals Trust and the Health & Care Trust, have shown they are prepared to destroy individual staff members who step out of line. So for the most part staff remain silent. BBTT’s ranks consist of those who have chosen to resign or who have been sacked.

How many more reports like that of Queen Elizabeth are necessary before the country wakes up to how bad things are in the NHS? It is now a chaotic collection of separate Trusts and other bodies beyond democratic control. BBTT has found that everyone in this new NHS establishment instinctively supports each other rather than properly face the problems created by underfunding.

In our short existence we have achieved two independent inquiries into abuse of staff, but the outcome has been the burying of the evidence and no manager held to account. Meanwhile, one of our members, who as a radiographer tried to whistleblow on the piling up of unreported X-rays and scans at the Acute Hospitals Trust, is being hounded by attempts to have him struck off even though he left the NHS and has worked for a private company for 18 months.

Meanwhile the Health & Care Trust uses skilful public relations to conceal the dreadful state of mental health services propped up by overworked staff. Somehow local democracy needs to be revived to reclaim our NHS.”

Nigel Gilbert, BBTT secretary

Bullying and stress are symptomatic of an organisation in crisis.

We demand a free and fully funded health service staffed by motivated and happy staff.

We reject privatisation and cuts as solutions to the growing crisis.

The Junior Doctors strikes highlight how the government is trying to overstretch existing resources rather than increasing staffing to adequate levels. Being stretched too thin means staff begin to leave our NHS. That, and underfunding by government is dragging our NHS towards breakdown

Birmingham Socialist Party is ramping up its campaign to save the NHS. Join us now before it’s too late!